Ocean to Ocean Cayuco Race

Welcome to CREBA, home to the Ocean to Ocean Cayuco Race, a traditional community event that began in 1954 with the participation of athletes from the Republic of Panama and the United States.
Mr. Frank Townsend, working for the Panama Canal Company and group leader of the Boy Scouts of America, had the great idea of bringing a group of boy scouts to visit an Indian village on the banks of the Rio Chagres. Soon, they also learned the traditions and culture of our Indians, and especially, to use their main method of transportation, the cayuco.
With the passage of time, paddling competitions between groups of explorers intensified and decided to organize an official race. Thus this beautiful tradition was born that has lasted over 59 years without interruption.

Traditionally, cayucos are made from a tree trunk that has been crudely hollowed out by indigenous artisans national of Panama. They are then shaped and finished by local experts in the sport. This is an art that transcends generations. The race, organized by a volunteer committee of the members of Balboa Paddle Club (CREBA), gives the participant the opportunity to paddle by canoe from one ocean to another through the Panama Canal. This extreme sport is a test of character and perseverance of young athletes. While it is clear the competitive spirit that reigns over the three days of the regatta, the mere fact of completing these grueling 50 miles is a real achievement and a memorable learning experience.

The race also has an adult section for those enthusiasts who want to participate. The race starts on Friday at Cristobal, the Atlantic entrance of the Panama Canal, where the first stretch takes place, ending at the north end of Gatun Locks. This section is approximately 7 miles. The second stretch begins on Saturday, very early in the morning at the southern end of the Gatun Locks and runs 21 miles through Gatun Lake to then finish at the buoy 93 of Gamboa.

On Sunday, the third leg of the race starts from Gamboa and paddlers run through Culebra Cut (former Gaillard Cut) until they reach the Pedro Miguel Landing. In the Pedro Miguel pier permit is expected to enter the chamber of Pedro Miguel Locks, where, when available, a first lockage is held. Once you open the floodgates of the Pedro Miguel Locks starts the fourth leg of the race that is the Miraflores Lake. After entering the Miraflores Locks, completed two lockages that put the cayucos to the level of the Pacific Ocean and by opening the floodgates of Miraflores Locks starts the fifth and last race of the regatta which is 15 miles, ending at the Diablo Point public ramp area.

The cayuco season consists of six months from October to March or April of the next year. It begins with the drawing of the canoes owned by CREBA and culminates in the award ceremony after the Ocean to Ocean Cayuco Race. The young winners of a cayuco, have the right to paddle the canoe during the season. Three other events taking place during the cayuco season (see description in other events) The Ocean to Ocean Cayuco Race has two categories: trophy class, consisting of youth ages 14 to 21 years and the open class for those aged 22 and over. Each class is subdivided into three subcategories: male, female and coed. Teams consist of four paddlers. In preliminary races, participants compete for medals for the first three places in each category, while in the race from ocean to ocean, the first four places are awarded trophies. Each participant who completed the race from ocean to ocean will receive a badge commemorating their participation. The logo is designed by the winning team last year. Usually involving 100+ canoes, 400+ paddlers and there are approximately 1,000+ spectators.

The Cayuco Race is only possible because of the generous and selfless support of the Panama Canal Authority who gives us access to canal waters, floating equipment, support staff and use of facilities.

Other events during the season of Cayucos are:

  • Amador Causeway Regata 6 mi.
  • Veracruz Cup 8.5 mi.
  • The Atlantic Cup
  • Gamboa Sprints
  • Chagres Funday

How to Register

Click on the below link to register by going to our website. Just enter your detail and pay the registration fees.

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